Fight Obsolescence with Pirate TV

Over at the excellent Stay Free! Daily blog, Jason Torchinsky asks what to do with the millions of analog TV sets when digital TV finally becomes the standard and analog signals go dark in 2009. His suggestion is:

[something like] local, indepedent TV stations. Stations with a broadcast range of just, say, Brooklyn or Silverlake or some other neighborhood-sized community — or the broadcast TV equivalent of zines in the early 90s.

I say, that’s a lot more like micropower radio than ‘zines. The solution is unlicensed micropower TV.

One comment to Jason’s post points out that Pirate Cat Radio in San Francisco has expanded to TV. My guess is that they’re using a system like the one recommended by Free Radio Berkeley’s Stephen Dunifer.

I interviewed Dunifer about his unlicensed TV plans on the March 25 edition of the radioshow.

Of course, I say “hell yeah!” to the notion of active resistance against planned obsolescence. However, the complicating factor will be what the FCC plans to do with the old analog TV spectrum, since the federal government is licking its lips over all the anticipated cash that will stream in when that spectrum is auctioned off.

The question is: will it be possible to broadcast a clean TV signal through whatever digital hash ends up in that slice of spectrum? Or will these signals be forced to battle it out, with the FCC having to send out hordes of enforcement agents to clear things out for the corporations that bought the rights?

Nevertheless, analog TV spectrum is already pretty empty, especially compared to the radio dial. Even in big metropolitan areas, the UHF band is pretty damn empty. There should be no problem picking a channel and getting on the air right now, four years ahead of schedule.

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